Berkeley restaurants

Thousands of Bay Area customers lose power as high winds approach 100mph

Thousands of people across the Bay Area lost power ahead of the weekend, thanks to predicted high winds that reached nearly 100 mph in parts of North Bay.

Although many households and businesses were restored by midday Saturday, including shops and restaurants in San Francisco’s popular Ferry Building, thousands of people remained without power through Saturday evening, according to maps from Pacific Gas and Electric Co. .

In Oakland alone, the fire department announced in a tweet that 10,000 customers still had no power as of late afternoon. A resident of El Centro Avenue responded that PG&E sent an email saying the power would not turn on again until 3 p.m. Sunday. “Looks like a sports bar to watch the 49ers,” the person tweeted.

Areas still awaiting power included parts of every county in the Bay Area, from Gilroy in the south to Healdsburg in northern Sonoma County. Nightly gusts there reached 96 mph, according to the National Weather Service, which called the winds “impressive.”

At the Hog Island Oyster Co. restaurant in the Ferry Building in San Francisco, general manager Ethan Thompson sent his morning crew home when the lights went out.

“We couldn’t cook anything,” he says, aware of the irony for a restaurant specializing in raw shellfish. “We’re just not equipped to operate without electricity,” he said, about 10 minutes after power returned at 1:30 p.m.

The most concentrated power outages occurred in Alameda County.

There, parts of Piedmont, Berkeley and Oakland have been hardest hit by reports of downed trees in the area. The Weather Service said winds reached 71 mph atop Mount Diablo in Contra Costa County.

“Our crews have been out all night and all day to deal with damaged trees and damaged cables and pavement,” said Brian Protheroe, a fire doctor with the Piedmont Fire Department.

PG&E also tried to turn the lights back on. Nearly 30,000 customers lost power overnight Friday, according to unconfirmed estimates.

Some locations, such as Oakland Heights Nursing and Rehabilitation on East 29th Street, continued to operate with their own generator while waiting for PG&E to restore power. But not all companies were equally equipped.

“We’re completely closed right now,” said Murad Nasher, owner of Munchrite Market at 1839 96th Ave. in Oakland, around noon Saturday. He arrived at work in the morning to find there was no power and the ice cream was melting.

“Customers are coming, but we just have to tell them we’re closed,” Nasher said. “We just had winds — there’s nothing I can really do. It just happened.”

Across town, howling winds woke Lis and Mason McKinley just before 4 a.m., and they tried to do something about it.

Remembering the wobbly fence along their home in Maxwell Park, Mason McKinley went out to check, then called his wife, “Read! I need your help!”

She found him in the neighbor’s driveway preparing to nail boards to the fence in hopes of keeping it upright. Shaking her head, she went back to bed, certain that carpentry before dawn would disturb the neighbors more than a fence knocked down on their driveway.

Instead of driving nails, her husband leaned the boards against the fence and crossed his fingers. In the morning, the fence was still holding.

Nanette Asimov is an editor for the San Francisco Chronicle. Email: [email protected]: @NanetteAsimov